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How Much Do Americans Really Care About Online Privacy?

by Fox Van Allen on January 21, 2014

Couple having fun with online privacyMatters of online privacy seem to be dominating headlines now more than ever before. But given all the talk about protecting our personal privacy, is anyone seriously doing something about it? Well, sort of: According to a new poll by GlobalWebIndex published by The Guardian, 56% of Americans believe the Internet is eroding their personal privacy, but only a quarter of us are actually using tools like Tor to disguise our identity.

The survey, which is actually just compiled market research data, shows that the United States is actually lagging behind the rest of the world in using privacy features and tools. Only 17% of Americans use VPNs – Virutal Private Networks – so we can browse the web anonymously. That compares to 38% of those in Brazil, 36% in Thailand, and 34% in China, India and Mexico.

The results of this new poll don’t quite line up with past results we’ve seen here at Techlicious. A Pew Internet & Digital Life poll last year reported that a full 86% of us “have taken steps online to remove or mask our digital footprints.” Of course, the Pew poll counted simple efforts like clearing browser histories in its tally, which offers only very limited privacy protection.

Still, regardless of what everyone else thinks about their online privacy, you should take a more active role in protecting yours. Check out these 11 simple ways to protect your privacy to get started – there are good tips there for computer novices and experts alike. And remember to take privacy especially seriously any time you’re on public WiFi – it’s easy for bad guys to peek into your computer and send viruses at coffee shops and other public locations.

[Woman hiding secrets on laptop via Shutterstock]


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